Out of all of the places I’ve gone hiking, Canada is one of my favorites. We spent two weeks exploring the majestic mountains and serene lakes and enjoyed every second of it.
We started our day by hiking on the ridgeline of some mountains near Canmore Alberta. We were in bear country so the few miles in the dense forest kept us on edge after numerous reports of bears in the area. We finally broke through the treeline and found snow! Did I mention it was the middle of July? Due to the elevation and lower temperatures, the snow was able to stick around and provided the dogs with a place to cool off. We started our ascent up the mountain and it was steep. The rocks were loose and it was easy to lose your footing or twist an ankle. On this hike I chose to wear my Women’s Sawtooth II Mid because of the ankle support that important for preventing a twisted ankle. It felt like our climb upwards was never ending but eventually after lots scrambling we reached the top of the ridge. The views looked like they were straight out of a National Geographic magazine and we were up so high we could stare eye-to-eye with the surrounding mountain peaks.
We walked the ridge for a while but unfortunately bad weather forced us to turn around. Huge black storm clouds rolled in and sleet was hitting us from all sides. With no tree cover and nowhere to hide we turned around and headed back down. The ice made the slippery rocks even more slick and I’m so grateful for the grip that the Women’s Sawtooth II Mid provide because of their bottoms. Aside from a few scraped knees and being cold and wet, we all made it down safely.
Next up on our agenda was a sunset hike at one of the iconic Canadian lakes. It’s one of my favorites because it looks like it’s shaped like Ego! This trail is heavily trafficked so we went in the evening to avoid the crowds. The hike is easy and only takes 15-20 minutes to complete. My W's Cirque Low Bdry were perfect for this easy hike because they’re extremely comfortable but still function as a tough hiking shoe. We snapped some photos, climbed on some rocks and watched the sun set behind the mountains before making our way back down.
Our last adventure of the trip is one that I will never forget. It started off with us canoeing 8 miles down a lake to our campsite that’s only accessible by water. We had two people and three dogs all in one canoe paddling through the silky Canadian lake. We stopped after 4 miles to rest our arms and let the dogs run around. The water was blue and crystal clear and there were gorgeous mountain views all around us. We picked up our paddles and got back to paddling and made it another few miles when a storm hit. The skies were black, thunder and lighting fought above our heads. The canoe was pushed around by the waves and we raced towards the shore to seek cover. We hid under the trees to wait out the storm. At this point we were stuck because it wasn’t safe to go back to the dock and it wasn’t safe to go on. Thankfully the skies cleared and we made the decision to head to the campsite as we were only a few more miles away.
We made it to the campsite and unpacked our stuff. Our arms were exhausted and we were ready to go to sleep. The rain picked up again and we took shelter in our tent, three people and five dogs all in one tent. After a short nap we woke up and paddled another four miles to see an island for sunset. It was quite a sight seeing four dogs and three humans all in one canoe. The rain held off just long enough for us to make it back to the tent but it stormed all night which didn’t bode well for the morning paddle back.
As we expected, the storm rolled into the next day and we were forced to start out journey in the rain. We had a tent tarp draped over the dogs who huddled at the bottom of the canoe to keep warm. We only made it a mile before there was already a pond at the bottom of the canoe and we were constantly struggling to go forward. It felt like no matter how hard we paddled forward the boat only went backwards. Exhausted, we pulled to the shore, hung a tarp and debated what our plan was. Of course we had no service and we were all too wet and tired to go any farther. We had just discussed pitching the tent and dividing our food rations when a boat came into view. We stood up to wave them down and luckily they saw us and headed our direction. With luck on our side it was Parks Canada Rescue! Some other campers at the campground mentioned that we had left in the storm and they set out looking for us to make sure we were ok. We loaded the dogs into their boat, hooked up our canoe and kayak, and they drove us back to the dock.
Canada is one of the most beautiful places I’ve traveled to and I’ll definitely be back. Hopefully next time, mother nature will be a little kinder to us, but I know no matter the weather, good memories will be made.